Almost all native speakers learn their mother language following the order of Listening – Speaking – Reading – and then Writing.
As second language learners in local schools, most students follow a very different order: Reading/Listening – Writing – Speaking. Without the presence of a natural English speaking environment outside the classroom, the role of Listening is far less significant than the role of Reading in the learning of the language.
It takes time and enough exposure to allow an ESL learner to move a newly encountered word from one stage to another, i.e. from Reading to Writing then Speaking. Considered the limited exposure to English outside the classroom, it takes an average student 3 years for such a word to move from one stage to another. A native speaker goes through the process much faster because his exposure to the language is 10-20 more intense than that of a second language learner.
Recognizing a new word will not allow anybody to use the full meaning of the word immediately but time and subsequent exposures will perfect the understanding gradually. However, if a student can never recognize a word and retain it in memory, the perfection process will never start.
In Chart A, the data gathered in academic year 2010-2011, the examination results of the F1 students revealed that the exercise has a positive and statistically significant correlation with the change in performance of a student in English in the two semesters.
Furthermore, in Chart B, the performance of the exercise is also a predictor, among all predicators which can be identified on the report card, with the highest degree of influence and confidence level on the change in overall performance of a student in the 2 semesters.
It was also found that the exercise did not have any adverse effect in any areas of English learning of the students.
Interestingly as seen from Chart C, the detailed analysis of the effect of the exercise on the performance in English showed that the overall improvement was greater than the improvement in any specific area. This suggested the possibility that the exercise might help individual student to tackle his own weakest link in English learning rather than to improve the performance in any particular area in English.